Happy American Business Women’s Day From Ours to Yours
September 22, 2017
Happy American Business Woman’s Day to all of the amazing women who are doing and building their own thing. We have nothing but the utmost respect for all of you. Succeed or fail, rain or shine, there is nothing more admirable than sticking that shingle in the air and seeing what happens.
Last September, we unveiled some things about our founders, Heather Morgan-Shoemaker and Kaarina Kvaavik, that made us a little nervous. Not because they were bad things, but because they were real things—life things—and we didn’t know how talking about those challenges would impact business.
So what were we concerned about writing about? Cancer, VC rejections, and a fall. The kicker for the Language I/O team is that each of these things crescendoed during the dreary February of 2016. Within a few weeks, Language I/O decided to forgo VC funding, one founder had surgery and radiation for breast cancer and the other had to have shoulder surgery after slipping on ice. Not exactly a stellar start to the year. But after many internal back-and-forths, we decided to go ahead with the story because it’s human. Life is life and we wanted other people who are living and striving to launch and maintain businesses, to know no one struggles in a silo.
During that crummy February, Kaarina and Heather persevered the way women do. They continued working to build Language I/O, which develops software that allows clients to easily provide customer support in multiple languages using a combination of human and machine translation. They also raised their families, traveled to conferences and mentored new employees—no biggie—until they were finally able to wave 2016 goodbye, which they did with a swift kick of the foot.
And then, 2017. It’s amazing the difference a year makes. February of 2016 was a lesson in hanging by fingernails whereas this February, well this February was the beginning of a series of record-breaking quarters for Language I/O.
We hired an outstanding software developer, Craig Boal, best known in Wyoming for launching Sierra Trading Post’s eCommerce platform. We welcomed four large international clients to our roster, we ended up tripling revenue, added more staff and launched a new product—LinguistNow Chat. LinguistNow Chat gives all Language I/O customers the option to provide 24/7 chat support in any language. Not bad, eh?
Before the close of 2017, we’ll welcome many more clients as well as some new leaps in revenue. Needless to say, 2017 will exit with champagne, not the sole of a shoe.
In some small way, the contrast between our 2016 and our 2017 is a message to all entrepreneurs—female and otherwise—that when the tough stuff hits the fan, you put on a windbreaker and keep going. So happy American Business Women’s Day to all of you fabulous women who are spinning the plates that feed so many.